The Saisiyat tribe of Hsinchu and Miaoli will perform a solemn rite this weekend to commemorate a race of people that they exterminated
By Jules Quartly, taipeitimes.com
November 27, 2004
Drinking, singing and dancing are expected to take place deep in the mountains of Miaoli and Hsinchu when the "Ritual of the Little Black People" is performed by the Saisiyat tribe once again this weekend.
For the past 100 years or so, the Saisiyat tribe has performed the songs and rites of the festival to bring good harvests, ward off bad luck and keep alive the spirit of a race of people who are said to have preceded all others in Taiwan.
In fact, the short, black men the festival celebrates are one of the most ancient types of modern humans on this planet and their kin still survive in Asia today. They are said to be diminutive Africoids and are variously called Pygmies, Negritos and Aeta. They are found in the Philippines, northern Malaysia, Thailand, Sumatra in Indonesia and other places.
Chinese historians called them "black dwarfs" in the Three Kingdoms period (AD 220 to AD 280) and they were still to be found in China during the Qing dynasty (1644 to 1911). In Taiwan they were called the "Little Black People" and, apart from being diminutive, they were also said to be broad-nosed and dark-skinned with curly hair.
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